Thursday, April 2, 2020

Organizations Working to Raise Awareness about HIV/AIDS among Latinos On World AIDS Day

world-aids-day

Today, marks the 26th annual World AIDS Day, a day reserved by the international community to show their support and solidarity with those battling the AIDS virus and the people who have died from the disease. Studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that the infection rate is disproportionately high among Latinos, organizations are therefore ramping up efforts to reach the Hispanic community to raise awareness about the resources and tools available to combat HIV/AIDS.

According to Dr. Donna McCree, the CDC’s Associate Director for Health Equity, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, and “Approximately on in 50 Hispanics will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.” In light of this staggering figure and the cultural and linguistic barriers that can preclude an open conversation about the disease, the CDC recently launched the “One Conversation At a Time” campaign, geared towards promoting an honest and open dialogue about prevention and treatment.

Latino men are infected at almost three times the rate of white men and Latinas are infected at more than four times compared to white women. Furthermore, Guillermo Chacon, president of the Latino Commission on AIDS noted that there are significant regional differences in the rate of infection among Latinos. Therefore, organizations such as the Latino Commission on AIDS and other regional health organizations are actively trying to bridge that gap by educating low-income and undocumented Latino immigrants about the importance and accessibility of health services available through the Ryan White Act to treat the disease.

Oriol R. Gutierrez, an activist who was diagnosed with HIV in 1992, stressed that on this World AIDS Day, Latinos living with HIV/AIDS should not allow the stigma of the disease stop them from being tested or seeking treatment. He said, “If you get treatment, you can have HIV and still have a normal life span. For anyone who is newly diagnosed, you have to take a deep breath and know that there is hope and that you are not alone.”

NBC News